Skip to content

You're Most Likely to Catch COVID From This Kind of Person

These are the real coronavirus super-spreaders, according to the CDC.
two women talking

You're most likely to catch COVID-19 from someone who has no symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said Thursday. A new model developed by the agency found that 59 percent of all COVID transmission comes from people who are asymptomatic, including 35 percent from people who infect others before they develop coronavirus symptoms and 24 percent who never develop symptoms. "The bottom line is controlling the COVID-19 pandemic really is going to require controlling the silent pandemic of transmission from persons without symptoms," said Jay C. Butler, the CDC deputy director for infectious diseases and a co-author of the study, in the Washington Post. "The community mitigation tools that we have need to be utilized broadly to be able to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from all infected persons, at least until we have those vaccines widely available." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Mask-wearing important

Those mitigation tools include those officials have been publicizing since the beginning of the pandemic — mask-wearing, social distancing, avoiding gatherings and getting tested for COVID. 

"Those findings are now in bold, italics and underlined," said Butler. "We've gone from 11-point font to 16-point font."

Experts aren't sure why some people develop symptoms of COVID and others don't. But it's been clear for months that asymptomatic transmission is frequent. That has complicated efforts to stem the pandemic, which has killed more than 365,000 people nationwide.

Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, called COVID's tendency to spread asymptomatically a "surprising and disturbing" facet of the disease that has affected everything from testing to prevention. 

"Mask wearing became much more important, because if you're only worried about somebody who's symptomatic, then you'll know who you're dealing with," he said. "But if you don't know who's infected, then everybody should be wearing a mask, which is the real fundamental rationale for saying we need universal and uniform wearing of masks."

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds

On Thursday, the U.S. reported a record number of daily deaths (4,027) and hospitalizations (132,000) from coronavirus.

How to survive this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.